Hilma af Klint film Beyond the Visible coming to UK cinemas next month
The first feature-length documentary about the pioneering abstract painter explores her visionary practice and “mystical” view of the world.
- Jenny Brewer
- 4 September 2020
- Reading Time
- 2 minute read
Hilma af Klint is often cited as an inspiration to creatives we interview here on It’s Nice That, so it will be of great interest to her fans, new and longstanding, that the first feature-length documentary on the artist’s practice is coming to UK and Ireland cinemas. Beyond the Visible is directed by Halina Dyrschka and has received acclaim from US critics – among them The New York Times’ then-chief film critic A. O. Scott, who said it “refreshes the eyes and the mind”. The film explores the Swedish artist’s work and life through archival footage and expert interviews.
Hilma af Klint is known for pioneering abstract art, with her work predating Kandinsky, Malevich and Mondrian. As early as 1906 she was experimenting with radical abstract imagery, several years before the widely known “forerunners” of 20th Century abstract art. However, she was largely missing from mainstream art history until recent years and has therefore become a key name in the contemporary discourse around the representation of women in the art world.
Klint, it seemed, knew she was before her time, and stipulated that her own work should not be shown for 20 years following her death. She left behind 1,200 paintings and 26,000 notebooks when she died in 1944, and this archive remained hidden away for decades until the world began to wake up to her visionary approach. Klint’s large-scale works have since been subject to a retrospective at New York’s Guggenheim in 2018-2019, as well as shows at London’s Camden Arts Centre in 2006 and the Serpentine in 2016.
Dyrschka’s film further reveals the importance of the artist’s legacy, “demanding a re-evaluation of modernism’s evolution and calling into question the broader conveniences of art history, how it is documented and for who’s benefit,” says a press release from distributor Modern Films.
It also examines the artist’s inspiration in spiritualism, modern science and nature, as it chronicles her “mystical view of the world” starting at Stockholm’s Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts, and moving on to her involvement in Theosophy, spiritualist and occult movements. This includes Klint’s part in “The Five”, a group of female artists who conducted séances, which led to experiments with automatic writing and drawing, predating the surrealists by several decades.
Beyond the Visible is out 9 October 2020 in UK and Ireland cinemas, alongside a programme of online events and digital screenings.
© Hilma af Klint Foundation